Is the World Still in a Democratic Recession?

Thursday, October 26, 2023
12:00 PM - 1:15 PM

Virtual to Public. Only those with an active Stanford ID with access to Encina Commons 119 in Encina Commons may attend in person.

Larry Diamond Seminar

In its 2023 "Freedom in the World" report, Freedom House detected signs of a possible "turning point" away from the steady trend of receding freedom over the past decade and a half. For the first time since 2006, about as many countries gained in freedom as declined, and the egregious mistakes of authoritarian regimes in Russia, China, Venezuela, and Iran exposed "the limits of [these] authoritarian models." Illiberal populists suffered electoral defeats in several European Countries, including the Czech Republic earlier this year, showing that this model can be beaten at the polls. Yet press freedom and civil liberties continue to recede in India, Erdogan has been "reelected" in Turkey, and democracy is under significant pressure from populist and other authoritarian forces in Latin America and Africa. How should we interpret these diverse trends? Is the world still in a "democratic recession"?


Larry Diamond is the William L. Clayton Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, the Mosbacher Senior Fellow in Global Democracy at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI), and a Bass University Fellow in Undergraduate Education at Stanford University. He is also professor by courtesy of Political Science and Sociology at Stanford. He leads the Hoover Institution’s programs on China’s Global Sharp Power and on Taiwan in the Indo-Pacific Region. At FSI, he leads the Program on Arab Reform and Democracy, based at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, which he directed for more than six years. He also co-leads with (Eileen Donahoe) the Global Digital Policy Incubator, based at FSI’s Cyber Policy Center. He is the founding coeditor of the Journal of Democracy and also serves as senior consultant at the International Forum for Democratic Studies of the National Endowment for Democracy. His research focuses on democratic trends and conditions around the world and on policies and reforms to defend and advance democracy. His latest edited book (with Orville Schell), China's Influence and American Interests (Hoover Press, 2019), urges a posture of constructive vigilance toward China’s global projection of “sharp power,” which it sees as a rising threat to democratic norms and institutions. He offers a massive open online course (MOOC) on Comparative Democratic Development through the edX platform and is now writing a textbook to accompany it.

Virtual to Public. Only those with an active Stanford ID with access to Encina Commons 119 in Encina Commons may attend in person.